This study is intended to expand existing knowledge of the relationship of temperament to potential social emotional problem behaviors in preschool-age children, as viewed by parents, and to refine and test interventions with parents by pediatric nurses. The present trend in the provision of mental health services is to identify and refer children in need of professional help after they have reached the age of six or older and are found to present problems in school adjustment. There is considerable evidence that this is too late for the most effective intervention in the child's emotional adjustment. Early identification and intervention may help to prevent the cumulative compounding of the child's difficulties, thus assisting families at a vulnerable point in their development.
The specific aims of this study are: 1) to investigate the relationships among parents' perceptions of their child's temperament, parents' ratings of their child's temperament, and parents' ratings of their child's behavior; 2) to determine how bothersome certain child temperaments and behaviors are to parents; 3) to refine, implement, and evaluate a temperament assessment protocol to be used by nurses and other health professionals when providing guidance to parents; and 4) to implement and evaluate an intervention program designed to help parents to maintain or establish a goodness-of-fit with their child through interventions designed to modify the child's behavior or environment. An experimental design with three parent participant groups will be used. Group I will receive child profile information and intervention from pediatric nurses. Group II will receive child profile information only and Group Ill will receive no type of intervention. The final analysis will be conducted on parents of 375 preschool-age children (ages 3-5 years). MANCOVA will be the major statistical method employed. In all analysis a p less than .05 will be accepted. Pediatric nurses in primary care settings are in a valuable position to identify and provide intervention to families with children who may be at risk for potential social or emotional problems related to temperament. This study will yield information that will permit the construction, testing, evaluation, and refinement of a temperament intervention protocol for pediatric nurses and other health professionals working with children and parents in which there may be dissonance in relation to the child's temperament and behavior.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Nursing Research Study Section (NURS)
Program Officer
Phillips, Janice
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Arizona State University-Tempe Campus
Schools of Nursing
United States
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Melvin, N (1995) Children's temperament: intervention for parents. J Pediatr Nurs 10:152-9